The Impact of Altimetry Corrections of Sentinel-3A Sea Surface Height in the Coastal Zone of the Northwest Atlantic

Anrijs Abele*, Sam Royston, Jonathan Bamber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Corrections to altimeter-measured sea surface height anomalies (SSHA) have a larger proportional effect for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) altimetry than conventional, pulse-limited altimetry because of lower range noise. Here, we quantified the impact of the current generation of altimeter corrections in the coastal zone of the Northwest Atlantic, a region with significant dynamic activity. In this study, we used the sea level variance analysis to determine the change in variance for the altimeter corrections—range, geophysical, and mean surface—compared to the baseline. We also evaluated the performance of two coastal retrackers, ALES (empirical) and SAMOSA++ (fully analytical), against the SSHA from the Radar Altimeter Database System (RADS), which uses the standard SAR retracker. Tide corrections caused the largest change in sea level variance, followed by wet tropospheric corrections and sea state bias. Most non-standard altimeter corrections failed to reduce the sea level variance and performed markedly worse closer to the coast. Coastal retrackers showed a higher deviation from the standard SSHA closer to the coast, especially when the backscatter coefficient was high and the significant wave height was low. We conclude that further development of coastal corrections is needed. Contrary to our prior expectation, we found that standard altimetry corrections appear to perform as well as alternative more advanced/tailored corrections.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1132
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme grant agreement No. 694188 (GlobalMass) and the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership studentship, grant number NE/L002434/1.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.

Structured keywords

  • GlobalMass


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